Green Bean & Saffron Lamb Stew

The authentic flavors of Morocco, bursting with flavorful superfood spices! Free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, grains, and a long-winded story about my childhood that forces you to scroll down for eight minutes before finally arriving at the recipe. So… enjoy! 😉

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb organic lamb stew meat, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric root
  • 3/4 tsp saffron threads
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped with juice retained
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, cut in half
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 lime

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lamb, garlic, turmeric, saffron, onions, celery, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the tomatoes with their juice and 1 cup of water, cover and cook for 40 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mint. Cut the lime in half, and squeeze all of its juice into the pot. Stir well and serve hot.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
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Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2019 All rights reserved. 

Organic Egg Taste Test- Which to Buy and Which to Ditch? (Round 2)

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Last year my little family of foodies did a taste test to find out which organic chicken eggs were the best quality- you can read it here Little Theo was just a speck in my tummy for the last test and isn’t old enough today to indulge with us (sorry little bean!), but I included my husband Matt along with our five year-old daughter Eliana and her questionable egg-describing adjectives again.

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We know that of all the options in the grocery store organic eggs are the best choice; an organic certification means the hens must be fed organic feed and have access to the outdoors; animal by-products and GMO crops in feed are prohibited. There can be no traces of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Forced molting is not allowed, the animals cannot be caged, and the certification requires maintenance of basic animal welfare standards.

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Having access to your own home-raised organic chickens is obviously even better, but for those of us who don’t live in an area where it is legal to keep chickens, we need another option. It seems the number of organic brands is growing by the day… which to choose? But don’t fret- we are again taking all of the guesswork out of finding the best eggs and are putting our previous champion Blue Sky Family Farms up against four new contenders.

I purchased all five of the organic products at Woodman’s in Appleton, WI.  To stay consistent with what a typical mom’s shopping trip may look like, I used the very scientific method of “I just got done with work and need to grab the first eggs I see because I need to get home as soon as possible and make dinner.” All were fairly similar in appearance, each carton of eggs having slight variance in color, mottling, and size.

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When they were cracked open, we found there were some pretty noticeable differences in the color of the yolks though. Full Circle Organics had a slightly thinner shell.

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All had similar sell-by dates, were cooked at the same time in a cast iron pan at the same temperature, and were unsalted.

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Our observations were as follows:

BRAND PRICE LOCATION PACKAGE CLAIMS MATT’S REVIEW MEGAN’S REVIEW 5 YEAR OLD’S REVIEW
Farmer’s Hen House Organics

(free range)

$3.99 per dozen Kalona, IA “Amish/Mennonite farms, free range, certified humane” “A little bit of richness. Tasting fat, but not much depth. Clean with no aftertaste.” “A little big chemically? Good, but not much depth.” “Tastes like eggs.”
Farmer’s Hen House Organics

(pastured)

$4.89 per dozen Kalona, IA “Pastured, 108 sq ft per bird guaranteed, certified humane” “Definitely more flavor than the first, with the same richness.” “Rich, better than their free range version. Not complex.” “Tastes better than the last one.”
Pete &

Gerry’s

Organics

$4.99 per dozen Monroe, NH “Free range, small family farms, certified humane, vegetarian feed & outdoor forage” “Rich but less complex flavor compared to the last two. The white is very good.” “Creamy, but it feels like it should have more flavor given the texture of it.” “Mushrooms. Mushroom eggs.”
Blue Sky Family Farm Organics $5.79 per dozen Warsaw, IN “Pastured, outside 365 days a year, certified humane.” “Much more full flavor. You experience the taste across the whole of your tongue. The whites have more flavor than the others.” “Mmm. That’s really good. Rich, deep, savory.” “Buttery”
Full Circle Organics  

$4.19 per dozen

 

Skokie, IL “Feed does not contain processed animal proteins, free roaming hens” “Well-rounded flavor. The whites are better than all of the others.” “Good and rich. But with a weird flavor that sticks to my tongue.” “Bleeegh. But good.”

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What was particularly interesting to me was that of the same Farmer’s Hen House brand, you could clearly taste and see the difference in the eggs that were from pastured chickens vs the ones from free range chickens. According to the rather broad “free range” regulations the chickens must be allowed to move unrestricted without being confined, and eat a vegetarian diet. Which is odd to me, because chickens are not natural vegetarians. There is no requirement for access to pasture, they must only be allowed gravel or dirt.  Pastured chickens on the other hand, must have access to pasture and have the opportunity to eat a more healthful, natural diet for them which includes bugs, worms, and other non-vegetarian things.

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So which were the best and which failed the test?

#1- Blue Sky Family Farms  (again! our reigning champion!)

#2- Full Circle Organics ( I must note, my husband and I disagreed on this- I felt it was tied with Pete & Gerry’s)

#3- Pete & Gerry’s

#4- Farmer’s Hen House Pastured

#5- Farmer’s Hen House Free Range

So there you go! While I must say they all were good (and much better tasting than the cheap eggs) it was yet another interesting experiment. I’m rather impressed with Blue Sky Family Farm’s consistency and exceptional quality, and they are now officially our best pick out of NINE organic products. The old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly rung true yet again; Blue Sky was well-worth the extra cash, and the cheapest of the five was the only one I would never buy again. Stay tuned and follow my blog and facebook page– I’ll be sourcing more brands to taste test in the future. Which eggs would you like to see tested? Let me know!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2019 All rights reserved. 

Avocado Quinoa Pilaf

This recipe is simple and easy, yet tasty and packed full of nutritious goodness. You can add any other fresh veggies from your garden or farmers market as well, such as fresh chopped kale or grape tomatoes.

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Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp minced garlic

2 1/2 cups quinoa, soaked and rinsed ( I used a blend of both red and white)

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp porcini salt (get mine here.… handcrafted with wild Wisconsin gourmet porcini!)

1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

2 tbsp lemon juice

4-6 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 ripe avocado, chopped

1/3 cup cucumber, chopped

1/3 cup bell peppers, chopped small (orange, yellow, red, and/or green)

1 can hearts of palm, sliced into rounds

 

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.

Stir in the quinoa, broth, and salt.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Remove from the heat and stir in tomatoes, parsley, thyme, avocado, cucumber, hearts of palm, peppers, lemon juice and feta. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Warmly,

Megan (Kerkhoff) Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2019 All rights reserved. 

Giant Puffball Mushroom Pizza

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If you’re avoiding processed grains/flours or lowering your carbs, or none of the above and just love mindblowing unique food, you’re going to want to try this giant puffball mushroom pizza. Calvatia gigantea is a white, round mushroom commonly found in meadows, fields, and deciduous forests all over the world, and hence the name they can get rather large. The ones pictured here were found on September 10th, 2018 in Wisconsin. While there aren’t a lot of studies on the medicinal benefits, they do contain powerful polysaccharides and have been found to inhibit lung cancer cells. 

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Mushrooms kind of excite me.

If you’re new to wild mushroom hunting be sure you properly identify and don’t confuse them with something like earthballs, which are toxic. These fungi have a soft, bread-like texture so you can use them to make anything you might normally make bread with. French toast is on the menu for tomorrow!

Now get this- the crust of this pizza is made from the thinly sliced puffball mushroom, then it’s topped with FIVE other wild gourmet mushrooms! Obviously most people won’t have access to a crazy amount of different mushroom species, but all you really need to make this pizza is the puffballs.  Throw on your favorite toppings and make it your own, such as onions, peppers, olives, button mushrooms from the store, or pepperoni.

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Some of the other mushroom species included on the pizza, picked just the day before the puffballs

First, I carefully cut them into a round 1 inch thick slice. Then they were pan-fried in a cast iron pan on both sides for about 5 minutes and seasoned with olive oil and Himalayan salt.

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Next, onto the pizza pan. I topped mine with Italian seasonings and pizza sauce, sautéed hedgehog mushrooms, porcini, chicken of the woods, and yellow legged chanterelles, then organic shredded cheese.

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Bake your pizza at 425 for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is just starting to turn golden brown. These crusts will be soft, not crunchy. Enjoy!!

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Thanks for visiting!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018. All rights reserved. 

Organic Egg Taste Test- Which to Buy and Which to Ditch?

Being as frugal as they come, I tend to choose my eggs based on price. It’s certainly difficult to tell which taste best when weeks go by between your consumption of different brands. Being health conscious, my husband and I always purchase organic, preferably from local farms. An organic certification means the hens must be fed organic feed and have access to the outdoors; animal by-products and GMO crops in feed are prohibited. There can be no traces of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Forced molting is not allowed, the animals cannot be caged, and the certification requires maintenance of basic animal welfare standards.

So as foodies we decided to do a taste test to see which ones were truly worth the extra cash and which ones to pass on,  and of course included our four year old daughter Eliana. (We were a bit suspicious that she may have been born with a more sophisticated palate than us, until her adjectives got a bit questionable.)

We purchased all five of the organic brands that were available at Woodman’s in Appleton, WI.  All brands were fairly similar in appearance, each carton of eggs having slight variance in color, mottling, and size.

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We noticed some very slight differences in the color of the yolks and whites.

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All had similar sell-by dates, were cooked at the same time in a cast iron pan at the same temperature, and were unsalted.

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I let chef Matt do the honors

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Our observations were as follows:

BRAND PRICE LOCATION PACKAGE CLAIMS MATT’S REVIEW MEGAN’S REVIEW THE TODDLER REVIEW
Milo’s Poultry Farms Organic Omega 3 Eggs $4.29 per dozen Bonduel, WI “Pastured as much as possible” Mild, no off taste, not much depth. The shells are very thin, which leads me to believe the chickens have poor calcium intake. Not much flavor, but pleasant. Good. Kind of gross.
Eggland’s Best Organic eggs

 

$4.39 per dozen Does not disclose “Vegetarian fed, cage free” Fattier. Whites are clean and firm. Buttery, rich, creamy, hearty. Kind of tastes like olives.
Phil’s Organic Omega 3 Eggs $4.19 per dozen Forreston, IL “Free range, whole grain fed” Rubbery. Firm, blah, not much flavor. The whites taste like paper. Kind of good.
Organic Valley Organic Eggs $4.79 per dozen Wisconsin “Free range” Rich, creamy. Creamy, melts in your mouth. A bit umami. Good. Tastes like avocados and oranges.
Blue Sky Family Farms Organic Eggs $4.99 per dozen

 

Warsaw, IN “Pastured, outside 365 days a year, certified humane.” Strongest natural rich yolk flavor. Rich, buttery, satisfying, creamy. Grapes.
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The littlest food critic

So which were the best and which failed the test?

#1- Blue Sky Family Farms  (ding ding ding, winner winner chicken dinner!)

#2- Eggland’s Best

#3- Organic Valley

#4- Phil’s

#5- Milo’s Poultry Farms

 

So there you go! I’ll gladly be spending the extra $.80 on tastier, creamier eggs from now on. It was interesting to me that there was indeed a correlation between price and quality. Stay tuned and follow my blog and facebook page– I’ll be sourcing more local brands to taste test in the coming months. Which brands would you like to see? Let me know!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Interested in healing your body naturally?
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here.

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018 All rights reserved. 

9 Simple Ways to Boost Your Breast Milk Supply

If you’re a breastfeeding mama, you’re probably all-too-familiar with the fear of a dwindling supply. There are numerous factors that can play into a reduction in breast milk, such as stress, illness, smoking, or birth control drugs. While there are many things you can’t control, let’s talk about the things you can- the easiest place to start is with your dinner plate! Including these tasty lactogenic food & drinks into your diet can make for happy boobies and happy babies.

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Water– It doesn’t get any simpler! If you are dehydrated, your milk is dehydrated. Aim for ½ an ounce per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you need approximately 70 oz of water per day.

Cumin– Cumin is an essential part of any Indian cuisine, and is probably already in your spice rack. Not only does is stimulate milk supply but it also regulates blood sugar levels, which can help you lose some baby weight. Use this aromatic herb in chili, enchiladas, curries, guacamole, or vegetable stews. It’s also a great addition to meat rubs or marinades.

Chamomile– Chamomile’s delicate apple flavor is one of my favorites. Drink this as a tea at night as a calming bedtime ritual to help you drift off into a restful sleep while increasing your milk flow. It also helps with stress and anxiety, so keep it on hand for when you need a breather.

*Beware of teas that have any kind of mint added, as it can lower your supply.

*If you have a ragweed allergy, avoid this herb.

Flax seeds– Flax supplies important fatty acids necessary for breast milk production. The hulls are indigestible when whole, so always use the ground seeds. You can easily sprinkle it on yogurt or granola, and mix it in with homemade pancakes, muffins, breads, or cookies. There is also flax milk available in stores as a tasty dairy alternative.

Fennel seeds– This sweet, licorice-flavored plant is popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Not only does it boost supply, but it passes through your milk, providing baby relief from tummy upset and colic. You can drink it as a flavorful tea, or use it as a spice in salads, meats, potatoes, or desserts.

Dandelion– Ok, so I know you don’t have dandelions in your kitchen. But walk outside- they are EVERYWHERE! And no, I don’t consider them a weed- they are indeed an excellent food and medicine. Drink the tea or add the fresh greens to your salads for lactation and breast inflammation. When harvesting dandelion greens, however, be careful to avoid areas that could potentially have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.

Oats– This one is easy. Oatmeal for breakfast, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, granola, breads, apple crisp with a crispy oat topping, oatmeal muffins. The possibilities are endless.

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Nettle: A nutritive food and medicine that not only can boost milk production, but also may reduce pain, inflammation, boost iron and ferritin levels, improve nutrient absorption, is good for the thyroid, and is a natural antihistamine. Now this isn’t a food you’ll likely find at your local grocery store other than in teas, but it grows everywhere! Once you learn how to ID it, you’ll see it everywhere in spring and summer. Teas and tinctures are also easy ways to get it in!

Dark beer– You can get brewer’s yeast from any nutrition store, but I find this option to be easier and way more fun. The yeast and b-vitamins in beer, particularly the darker varieties, will give you a nice little boost in your milk production. For bonus points, look for an oatmeal stout.

*Remember- if you are tipsy, your breast milk is tipsy. One alcoholic beverage per hour is generally considered safe while breastfeeding and will not affect the baby. As little as half a beer per day may be enough to give you the boost you’re looking for, so no need to overdo it!

Kombucha tea– Fermented foods are an excellent source of beneficial bacteria and yeast which boost your milk supply, and kombucha is one of my favorites. If you’re adventurous you can track down a “mother mushroom” and brew your own, or look for it in the health food section of your grocery store.

*This beverage does contain some caffeine as it is typically made with black tea, so don’t over-do it or drink it close to bedtime.

*Kombucha does naturally contain trace amounts of alcohol. It’s typically nothing to worry about, but due to variations in brewing techniques some may contain higher amounts. If it has a slight alcohol flavor to it, limit your intake as you would with the beer.

 

Also see my article published in “The Mother” Magazine:  http://www.themothermagazine.co.uk/9-simple-ways-to-boost-your-breast-milk-supply/

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFHCertified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles GuideFollow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2018